Books to Get You Started Living Simply

Are you looking for inspiration on your dream to live a simple life?

This book genre has exploded in the past few years, and it’s no surprise. The ideas of eating seasonally, supporting local farmers and artisans, and becoming self-sufficient are all very much a part of pop culture right now. But where to begin? We have two book recommendations from friends of Blue Moon to get you started.

The Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing
Recommended by Marc Kline

Scott and Helen NearingThe book is actually a compilation of two works, Living the Good Life and Continuing the Good Life, which detail the decision and story of the Nearings’ leaving New York City for a rural life of self-sustainable homesteading. It contains as much philosophical discussion as it does documentary tale, and while the book is not about organic farming per se, it helped to spur the “back to the land” movement and is on many a bookshelf of farmers young and old. In fact, Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Farm is not coincidentally located just down the road from Helen and Scott’s final and longest standing homestead in Harborside, Maine. He often cites his early experiences with them as crucial to his farming career. I visited this homestead in Harborside while I went to school about an hour north of it. While Helen and Scott have both passed, their homestead still hosts an individual or couple of apprentices who use the property much as the Nearings did and provide tours to the public.

Leda Meredith

The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget by Leda Meredith
Recommended by Erica Evans

“A GREAT book that I love when I first got into a more “locally minding way of living” is Leda Meredith’s The Busy Person’s Guide. She is fantastic, and has a great blog as well!” Leda Meredith coverings gardening, simple food preservation, cooking with odds and ends, foraging, and food storage in her book. The book is presented as a guide to living locally while living in New York City (where to get the best vegetables, shop for goods, etc), with a straightforward tone and lots of practical advice. Check out Leda’s blog here.

By | July 25th, 2014|News|0 Comments

It’s the Soil, Stupid

Hands Holding a Seedling and SoilIt’s dark, it’s messy, it’s all around you. It’s soil. It’s the very essence of life. But just what is soil? Why is it so important? And what can you do to improve your own?

At its most basic, soil is a blend of organic matter, minerals, and living organisms. Rotting leaves, dead animals, crushed rocks, worms, moles, beetles, and bacteria. Most soils have six distinct layers, from decaying matter on top, to rocks and bedrock at the bottom. Soil comprises 25 percent of the Earth’s surface, yet only 10 percent is suitable for food production.

The rise of modern agriculture has presented a number of challenges for soils around the world. In Europe, fertilizer overuse now threatens some 70 percent of natural habitat. In parts of sub-Saharan Africa, the lack of fertilizer has lead to soil degradation and poor yields. Elsewhere, overdevelopment, land mismanagement, and desertification are contributing to widespread soil erosion. Though soil is one of our most crucial resources, its significance is often misunderstood or even outright ignored.

Healthy soil functions as a living system, helping to control plant disease, deter pests, recycle nutrients, improve soil structure, and filter water. The healthier the soil, the healthier the plants and animals that depend on it. A sick soil equals a sick ecosystem. Building an ecosystem that allows plants to thrive with minimal stress is key to healthy soil creation.

To promote healthy soil, first ditch the chemicals. Chemical agents such as pesticides and herbicides destroy essential living organisms and contribute to water and air pollution. They harm beneficial insect species and microorganisms; they also weaken plant root and immune systems. For every chemical-based pest or disease agent, there is an equally effective, non-toxic, organic method.

Soil cross sectionAnother way to promote soil health is through compost. Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled. Adding it to gardens or plots improves nutrient-density, helps break up clay soils, and provides for better drainage. For best results, apply each year before planting.

If your soil is especially depleted, you’ll want to build raised beds. Raised beds increase soil vitality by preventing compacting (you’re not stepping on them) and by facilitating the manipulation of nutrient levels. It’s also a heckuva lot easier on the ole’ back.

Planting cover crops is yet another way of promoting soil health. A robust cover crop eliminates soil erosion, ensuring key nutrients are kept right where they belong.

A well-balanced, nutrient-rich soil is your best defense against pests and disease. Fruits and vegetables grown in sick, overfertilized soil tend to be bland and lifeless. The same fruits and vegetables raised in healthy, biologically-fortified soils are bursting with flavor and nutrition.
It’s really no secret. It’s the soil, stupid.

By | July 18th, 2014|News|0 Comments

How I Learned to Love Radishes

My name is Rebecca, and I haven’t always liked radishes.

There. It’s out in the open now.

Why did I emphatically not like radishes? And why am I now on the path of radish toleration, nearing radish adoration?

First, a visual:

French Breakfast Radishes- really pretty, right?

French Breakfast Radishes- really pretty, right?

When I was younger, I had a distinct intolerance of spicy foods. No peppers, no hot sauce, no ginger. Radishes, with peppery bite, were not part of my diet.

What changed? Well, to put it simply, I work on a farm that grows radishes and could not resist their beauty. The taste has grown on me — I’ve accepted that a bit of spice is good for me. And they just look so good in my salads. As a bonus, they’re super-nutritious also- rich in folic acid and potassium, and a good source in riboflavin, Vitamin B6, and calcium.

radishes

I’ve been enjoying my radishes sliced in a simple salad and roasted with olive oil and sea salt. I just discovered a recipe for a radish focaccia, and I’m looking forward to making it this Sunday.

Did you start off as a radish-hater? What were the dishes that won you over?

By | July 11th, 2014|News|0 Comments

Sustainable Saturdays! Organic Turf Revival with Richard McCoy

Blue Moon Acres hosts
Sustainable Saturdays  Workshop Series

Organic Turf Revival
Saturday July 26th 11am-12:30pm

Description:

Richard McCoy Horticultural Services offer environmentally responsible fine-gardening design and lawn care that promote a healthy ecosystem at your home or business. Richard is a certified Organic Land Care Provider through Rutgers and a certified Natural Turf and Landscape Manager through the New Jersey Department of Environment.

Richard will lead 2 workshops this summer to prepare us for next season and next year.  Sign up for both and receive a $10 voucher for our Pennington Farm Market

Saturday July 26th: Organic Turf Revival
Richard’s presentation will provide practical knowledge of basic organic systems for turf management, rebuilding soil, and soil health. Learn to revive summer stressed turf sustainably and prepare for next year’s growing season.

August: (Date and Description TBD)

Register online now:

$15 per person; $5 for each additional family member. Refreshments served. 10% off select market products.

http://sustainablesaturdayturf.brownpapertickets.com

You can also call our Pennington store at 609-737-8333 or stop in when we are open: Wednesday through Friday 9am-6pm and Saturday/Sunday 9am-5pm.

Sustainable Saturday workshops take place at our 63 acre certified organic farm in Pennington, NJ inside the big red barn next to our market (or just outside, weather permitting). Snacks, beverages, and coffee included.  Workshop participants receive 10% off select products in our market. 

 

By | July 1st, 2014|Events|0 Comments

Try our Certified Organic, New Jersey grown, freshly-husked rice. Enjoy $5.00 flat rate shipping for a limited time!